Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ganz Nass

There is a locality in Srinagar called “Ganz Khud”. Here, the tanners, the people dealing in curing of leather live and work. They cure hides of animals to convert these into leather. The process involves boiling these hides in huge copper cauldrons. This gives out a pungent nauseating stench. The whole locality is full of this strong foul smell. However, the local residents do not feel this stench as their smelling buds get desensitised after sometime. Any outsider notices the foul smell immediately and may even faint. There is an interesting story about a lady from outside their locality being brought there in marriage. She could not stand the unbearable stench and fainted. She could neither eat nor drink and was in great misery. Her in-laws told her to close the nostrils one by one and breathe slowly. After sometime she got used to the stench and developed what is popularly called the “Ganz Nass”! This simile is now also used commonly to describe various aberrations especially the total disregard and insensitivity to various issues or problems. The person with a “Ganz Nass” does not notice or smell anything as he or she becomes totally insensitive! The present set of our rulers especially the ones who have been saddled on our shoulders for last half a century seem to be in this state of insensitivity! They have developed in real terms a “Ganz Nass”! Because of their attitude, the people in general too seem to have developed a “Ganz Nass” in regard to our leaders as well as the issues facing us. The insensitivity is of two types. One is the political “Ganz Nass” regarding Kashmir’s future including the most beaten expression of the autonomy. The other is the total apathy of both the government functionaries and the people themselves towards the day to day problems faced by all. Let us first take the physical “Ganz Nass”. The first thing that comes to mind is the abnormal power position. So much has been written, spoken and discussed about it that everybody including the government seems to have become insensitive. Nothing seems to move and there is no immediate solution. The declaration that the people should pay the market price or face load shedding reminded one about the fate of the daughter-in-law in Ganz Khud who was asked to breathe through one nostril to avoid the stench! Next comes the menace of the stray dogs. The authorities have developed a perfect “Ganz Nass” about this virtual pestilence plaguing whole Kashmir. As part of the 1000 crore sterilisation project so far 400 dogs have been sterilised. At this speed the project could take at least 50 years as per the government figures regarding the population of stray dogs in the city of Srinagar! People especially our young ones continue to face the assault of these ferocious canines! The smell of garbage and stinking drains is now a part of the so called heritage city of Srinagar. One fails to understand how people can stand the stench round their most modern posh houses in uptown? Of course, the dwellers of the old city ironically called the “Sher-i-Khas” have developed insensitivity to their surrounding environment long time back! The roads are in pathetic condition with massive pot holes or rather huge ditches at many places. An interesting speciality of our main civic roads is the man holes which are invariably six inches to a foot above the road surface. No one seems to be bothered about that. The environmental degradation involving destruction of forests, polluting of water bodies, and conversion of green paddy fields for constructing various structures has ceased to bother anyone. If one starts describing all the infirmities, it would take a complete book! Nothing seems to be straight here like the limbs of a camel whose each body part is deformed one way or the other. The worst insensitivity or “Ganz Nass” which every one of us has developed is regarding the all-pervading corruption. It has seeped into our blood and is taken to be a part of normal day to day living. Not only have the authorities become immune to this menace eating away at the vitals of the society but the common people now take it for granted and do not seem to be bothered at all. The plea that they are helpless does not seem to gel. In reality no one has the time and patience to suffer the consequences of standing for honesty or giving a fight to the corrupt. Honesty like water flows from the top downwards. If the top boss is honest in real terms regardless of the consequences, then the system will get cleansed! The political “Ganz Nass” among our leaders has been there for a long time. They started with the popular slogan of giving us a place of honour and dignity. The magic word to represent that place of honour and dignity according to them was the “Autonomy”. The means to ensure it constitutionally was the article 370. However, the guarantee was used in the reverse and the article 370 became the channel to erode the so called autonomy bit by bit. In the initial stages some of our leaders resisted and suffered the consequences but soon they developed the “Ganz Nass” and we were left with nothing but the guarantee in name only. Kashmir’s so called autonomy has been stripped to the skin but these leaders continue breathing with both nostrils closed. A remarkable feat of which even the dwellers of Ganz Khud would be envious! As regards the other bunch of leaders now promising to take us to an unknown and undefined place of honour and dignity which they call “Azadi”, they have been breathing the stench of slavery for too long to discern the true goal and the road map to reach it. In fact, they seem to be breathing through their mouths with both their nostrils having been closed by the authorities! It appears that they too are very slowly but gradually developing a “Ganz Nass”. After all one cannot escape the consequences of living in a foul smelling society for long. It is human nature to get used to the circumstances and get along in life. One has to be really unreasonable to change the world! Reasonable people never make a change! To have the urge for a change one has to first breathe some fresh and clean air. As things stand, no one is going to allow us to take a few breaths of fresh air lest we realise that we have developed a perennial “Ganz Nass” to our wretched condition!

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